New lawyers admitted today in Nashville

The Tennessee Supreme Court today welcomed about 200 new attorneys to the practice of law during admission ceremonies in Nashville. Most of those new admittees and their families also were guests of the Tennessee Bar Association at an open house and luncheon. Admissions ceremonies continue tomorrow in Jackson and Thursday in Memphis. The court welcomed new attorneys in Knoxville on Monday.

Look at photos from the ceremony and luncheon on TBA Connect

TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

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You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL PIERRE ADAMS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hannah C. Stokes, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Pierre Adams

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophie S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; Lance Pope, Assistant District Attorney General; and Cameron Williams, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Michael Pierre Adams, appeals as of right from the Hamilton County Criminal Court's revocation of his community corrections sentences and order of incarceration. The Defendant contends that (1) the trial court's revocation is erroneous and based upon insufficient proof and (2) the State failed to provide him with adequate discovery before the hearing. Additionally, the judgments of the trial court do not reflect that the Defendant was given credit for time served in community corrections. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 40-36-106(e)(4). Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the case for correction of the judgments to reflect credit for time served in community corrections.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/adamsm_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GREGORY DWIGHT BOWMAN
CORRECTED


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

R. Jackson Rose, Harrogate, Tennessee (at trial); and Wesley D. Stone, Knoxville, Tennessee (at sentencing, motion for new trial, and on appeal), for the appellant, Gregory Dwight Bowman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Jared Effler and Thomas E. Barclay, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

In August 2005, a Claiborne County jury convicted the defendant, Gregory Dwight Bowman, of one count of aggravated vehicular homicide, a Class A felony; one count of vehicular homicide, a Class B felony; one count of vehicular assault, a Class D felony; one count of theft of property valued more than $1000, a Class D felony; and one count of driving on a revoked license, a Class B misdemeanor. The trial court merged the aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular homicide convictions and sentenced the defendant to an effective sentence of twenty-four years in the Department of Correction as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, the defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred by failing to suppress the defendant's blood sample, which was drawn shortly after the accident while he was unconscious; (2) the defendant was denied his right to a speedy trial; (3) the trial court erred by admitting the preliminary hearing testimony of a witness who died before trial; (4) the trial court erred by refusing to admit a prior inconsistent statement by the deceased witness; (5) the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury regarding accomplice testimony; (6) the evidence produced at trial was insufficient to convict the defendant of vehicular assault, aggravated vehicular homicide, and theft; and (7) the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. After reviewing the record, we conclude that the trial court committed error as to the defendant's fourth issue, but such error was harmless. We also conclude that the trial court committed no error as to any other issues and therefore affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/bowmang_COR_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MATTHEW JOSEPH CARTER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Bruce E. Poston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Matthew Joseph Carter.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and William H. Crabtree, Deputy District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Matthew Joseph Carter, was sentenced as a Range I, violent offender to twenty-three years for second degree murder, a Class A felony, and as a Range I, standard offender to eleven years each for two counts of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony, and to six years each for three counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. The trial court ordered partially consecutive sentences, for an effective forty-year sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the sentences are excessive and that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing. Although we conclude that the trial court erred in applying three of the nine enhancement factors, we hold that the lengths of the sentences imposed by the trial court are appropriate. We hold, though, that the imposition of consecutive sentences was in error and modify the Defendant's sentences to be served concurrently, for an effective twenty-three-year sentence.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/carterm_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. FRANKLIN A. CHRISTY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William B. "Jake" Lockert, III, District Public Defender, Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Franklin A. Christy.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Billy Miller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Franklin A. Christy, appeals the trial court's order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his sentence in confinement. In this appeal, Defendant acknowledges that the evidence showed he violated the terms of his probation. However, he argues that the trial court should have sentenced him to community corrections rather than order service of the sentence by incarceration. After full review we affirm the order of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/christyf_110210.pdf


COREY FINLEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Magan N. White, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Corey Finley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Nicole C. Germain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Corey Finley, appeals the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault convictions. On appeal, he argues that he stated a colorable claim in his petition; therefore, the post-conviction court erred in dismissing his petition without conducting an evidentiary hearing. The State concedes that the post-conviction court erred in summarily dismissing the petition. After review, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand for the appointment of counsel and an evidentiary hearing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/finleyc_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DERRICK GATES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Larry Copeland and Joseph S. Ozment, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Derrick Gates.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark E. Davidson, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Pamela Diane Fleming, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Derrick Gates, pled guilty in the Shelby County Criminal Court to aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated robbery. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered him to serve consecutive sentences of thirty and ten years, respectively. On appeal, the appellant argues that the trial court erred by ordering consecutive sentencing. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/gatesd_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. VICKY GILLIG, a/k/a VICKI GILLIG, a/k/a VICKY TAYLOR, a/k/a VICKY LITTLE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Steve McEwen, Mountain City, Tennessee (on appeal); and Andrew J. Gibbons, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Vicky Gillig, a/k/a Vicki Gillig, a/k/a Vicky Taylor, a/k/a Vicky Little.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Julie R. Canter, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Vicky Ann Gillig, a/k/a Vicki Gillig, a/k/a Vicky Taylor, a/k/a Vicky Little, entered best interest guilty pleas in the Sullivan County Criminal Court to the offenses of aggravated assault, a Class C felony; child abuse and neglect, a Class A misdemeanor; and contributing to the delinquency or unruliness of a minor, a Class A misdemeanor, in exchange for an effective sentence of four years. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied the defendant's request for probation, the denial of which she now appeals. After review, we affirm the trial court's sentencing decision.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/gilligv_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHAD NICHOLAS HALE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Timothy V. Potter and Lindsay C. Barrett, Dickson, Tennessee, (on appeal); and Mitchell B. Dugan, Dickson, Tennessee, (at trial), for the appellant, Chad Nicholas Hale.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Kelly Jackson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Chad Nicholas Hale, was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) per se, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced to eleven months, twenty-nine days to serve 10 days by incarceration and the balance suspended and served on probation. On appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court erred by failing to suppress the results of his breath alcohol content test. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/halec_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ARCHIE HILL, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert G. Morgan (at trial and on appeal) and Philip A. Condra (on appeal), Jasper, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Archie Hill, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; Steve Blount, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Archie Hill, Jr., pled guilty to one count of aggravated burglary and one count of burglary. The trial court sentenced him to seven years, with the Defendant to serve eleven months and twenty-nine days in confinement and then be released to probation. Soon after the Defendant began serving his probation sentence, a violation of probation affidavit was filed against the Defendant. After a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation sentence and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. The Defendant appeals, contending the trial court erred in placing into effect his original sentence. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/hilla_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL HILLIARD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Claiborne H. Ferguson (on appeal and at trial) and Robert Harford (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Hilliard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Reginald Henderson and Karen Cook, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Michael Hilliard, was indicted on March 25, 2003, for first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, attempted first degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery. The defendant was tried on the charges in June 2007, with the State seeking the death penalty. However, a mistrial was declared after the jury was unable to reach verdicts on the charges. In December 2007, the defendant was indicted for especially aggravated robbery, allegedly occurring during the 2002 episode in which the victim was shot and the defendant was charged with attempted first degree murder. The defendant then was tried upon the indictment returned in 2003, as well as that returned in 2007, and found guilty of two counts of criminally negligent homicide which were merged, one count of misdemeanor reckless endangerment, and two counts of aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to an effective sentence of seventeen years, eleven months, twenty-nine days. On appeal, he argues both that the trial court erred in not dismissing the 2007 indictment for especially aggravated robbery because it was not returned with the 2003 indictment and in concluding that he could not present evidence of the guilt of a third party. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/hilliardm_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. THOMAS P. ISBELL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; and Andrew Jackson Dearing, III, Assistant Public Defender, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas P. Isbell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Melissa Roberge, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Ann L. Filer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Thomas P. Isbell, was indicted for possession of oxycodone, burglary, two counts of theft over $1,000, and vandalism over $10,000. On October 21, 2008, Defendant pled guilty as charged. The sentence was left to the trial court's determination. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the two theft convictions and imposed an effective sentence of three years and six months, as a Range I standard offender, to be served by incarceration. On appeal, Defendant challenges the trial court's denial of alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/isbellt_110210.pdf


RUSSELL LEE MAZE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John H. Baker, III, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Russell Lee Maze.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Brian Holmgren Assistant District Attorney General; and Katrin Miller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Russell Lee Maze, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, Petitioner contends that (1) counsel failed to make an offer of proof regarding the testimony of Dr. Edward Yazbak; and (2) counsel failed to consult with a qualified medical expert regarding imaging evidence of the victim's neurological damage and failed to present a qualified medical expert to contradict the State's medical evidence regarding causation of the victim's brain and neurological damage. Petitioner also contends that the trial court erred in denying his petition for writ of error coram nobis. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to show that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. Furthermore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the petition for writ of error coram nobis. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/mazer_110210.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ALBERT LYNN NORTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Mack Garner, District Public Defender (at hearing); and J. Liddell Kirk (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Albert Lynn Norton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; and Clinton Frazier, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The Appellant, Albert Lynn Norton, appeals as of right from the Blount County Circuit Court's order revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his sentences in incarceration. On appeal, he argues that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to serve his sentences in confinement. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/nortona_110210.pdf


GENE SHELTON RUCKER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gene Shelton Rucker, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General, attorneys for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Gene Shelton Rucker, appeals as of right from the Hamilton County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that his sentence was enhanced in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/ruckerg_110210.pdf


CURTIS SMITH V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Vanessa M. Cross, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Curtis Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Brooks Yelverton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Curtis Smith, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that the court erred in determining that: his guilty plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered; trial counsel provided effective assistance of counsel; and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in accepting his guilty plea. After careful review, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/smithc_110210.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Election 2010
U.S. Supreme Court
Upcoming
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Tennessee ranks 5th for rate of women murdered by men
Tennessee ranks 5th in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, according to a new study by the Washington, D.C.,-based Violence Policy Center. Using FBI homicide statistics, the group over the last 11 years has ranked Tennessee in the Top 10 nine times and the Top 5 four times. "[In Tennessee,] you have fewer resources available for women and also you have more households with higher rates of gun ownership," said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center. "Guns in the home where there's any history of abuse increase the risk that abuse will rise to homicide."
The Tennessean has the story
Ash to committee: Most complaints are unfounded
Most complaints filed against Tennessee judges are dismissed because they never should have been filed in the first place, Court of the Judiciary Presiding Judge Don Ash wrote in a letter to lawmakers last week. Ash's letter was a response to a legislative panel that says it would like to consider legislation next year to make more of the court's work public, to alter how its members are appointed and to increase the number and severity of its disciplinary options.
The Tennessean reports
Kiser's attorneys cleared to review murder evidence
Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole ruled Monday that death row inmate Marlon Duane Kiser's attorneys could review evidence being kept by the Criminal Court Clerk's Office. Kiser was convicted in the 2001 murder of a Hamilton County sheriff's deputy. "We believe there are real questions to his innocence in this case," his attorney, Rick Haberman, said.
Read more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to stay in place for now
A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the U.S. government's request for a stay while it challenges the trial court's ruling that the ban on openly gay service members is unconstitutional. Monday's ruling indefinitely extended a freeze on a judge's order halting enforcement of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
WSMV carried this AP story
Election 2010
Shelby Co. elections under federal scrutiny
Shelby County is one of the 30 voting jurisdictions around the country the Justice Department and the FBI will be monitoring today. U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III says the Justice Department chose locations to monitor by following a formula and that it did not have anything to do with the August election questions. "This office has been in contact with officials in Washington for weeks. They are the ones that made the decision as to what jurisdiction should be monitored."
Watch the story on WREG
U.S. Supreme Court
Court considers law restricting sales of violent video games
The constitutionality of a California law keeping children from buying ultra-violent video games in which players maim, kill or sexually assault images of people, was under discussion in the U.S. Supreme Court today. California officials argue that they should be allowed to limit minors' ability to pick up violent video games on their own at retailers because of the purported damage they cause to the mental development of children. Some justices appeared to agree. But some of the justices wondered where the regulation would stop if they allowed the law to go forward. "What about films?" asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "What about comic books?" Justice Antonin Scalia wondered if movies showing drinking and smoking might be next.
NewsChannel 9 carried this AP story
Upcoming
Human trafficking conference includes IJM speaker
The second international conference on human trafficking is this week at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn. One of the speakers is Wayne Barnard, director of student ministries for the International Justice Mission, a human rights agency working for justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and violent oppression. To learn more about the conference or speakers go to
www.bryan.edu/freedom
Disciplinary Actions
Bedford County lawyer suspended
On Oct. 26, Shelbyville attorney Clarence W. Phillips was suspended from the practice of law for 60 days by the Tennessee Supreme Court, effective Nov. 5. Phillips violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by sending a direct mail solicitation to a prospective client in violation of RPC 7.3. He failed to ensure that the phrase "this is an advertisement" was located on the envelope of his solicitation letter.
Download the BPR release
Knoxville attorney suspended
On Oct. 21, Knoxville attorney Nathanael Ellis Anderson was suspended based on his guilty plea in State of Tennessee v. Nathan Anderson for felony theft.
Download the BPR news release
TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at www.avisawards.com to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.


 
 
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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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